February 20, 2009

Ten to Watch

by Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

MD1: No. 15 Colgate (1-0) at No. 5 Duke (1-0) – Friday, 4 p.m. Eastern

Hook: Ned Crotty was always the shifty midfielder with a blazing shot on the run. So what the heck was he doing on attack last week? Well, Duke coach John Danowski liked Crotty as an offensive engineer behind the cage on inverts last year, and with Steve Schoefel coming into his own at midfield, Danowski could afford to put Crotty back there as an attackman. Colgate doesn’t have the horses on defense to chase him down, so expect a conservative defense – a great performance by goalie Tim Harrington might do the upset trick.

 

There's going to be some upset, somewhere along Tobacco Road - not that I think it'll necessarily be Colgate or Navy on Friday. But then both Duke and North Carolina must turn around two days later to host equally as viable opponents. Harvard's at Duke on Sunday, while Colgate takes its two-step to Chapel Hill. Of those four games, one will result in an upset. I don't think I'm going too far out on a limb there.

 

 
WD1: No. 3 Syracuse (1-0) at No. 17 Stanford (2-0) – Friday, 3 p.m. Pacific

Hook: The Orange must avoid falling victim to the West Coast trip trap. Remember Penn and Notre Dame losing at Stanford this time last year? Or Notre Dame losing at Oregon? Syracuse needs to come out on fire to dispel any such notions.

MD1: No. 18 Army (1-0) at No. 1 Syracuse (1-0) – Friday, 7 p.m. Eastern

Hook: Army quietly picked up the 700th win in program history by trouncing all over VMI last week. Big whoop, right? Actually, the Black Knights manhandled (17-3) the same Keydets team that was tied with Navy at halftime the previous week. Don’t be so quick to dismiss that dominant performance. Meanwhile, the Cody Jamieson watch continues at ‘Cuse. His eligibility remains in question. The Orange do get Joel White back – but will it be with a long pole?

 

Syracuse has so many more weapons than Army. I mean, lacrosse weapons. I would assume that the Cadets have more actual weapons, unless there’s a lot I don’t know about the Orange.

 


MD1: No. 9 Navy (2-0) at No. 6 North Carolina (2-0) – Friday, 7:30 p.m. Eastern

Hook: Nothing short of an ACC win would spell a reversal of fortune at Carolina more than a win here. Navy put the nail in John Haus’ coffin with an 8-7 upset of the No. 4-seeded Tar Heels in the first round of the 2008 NCAA tournament. After firing Haus, UNC looked at Navy coach Richie Meade – a Carolina alum – as a possible solution, but Meade stayed put. Can Joe Breschi – also a Carolina alum – outfox Meade? Six of the last 10 games in this series have been decided by one goal.

 

Navy at North Carolina, under the lights in Chapel Hill. These two have had some epic encounters this decade. The Tar Heels appear to be clicking early under new coach and alum Joe Breschi, putting up 36 goals in two routs. At Navy, the Mids have not exactly been firing on all cylinders under new offensive coordinator Anthony Gilardi (10.5 gpg in two wins), but it’s still early. However, to win the first of three straight on the road, the Mids’ D will have to keep the game within reach until Navy can turn it up offensively

 

 
WD1: No. 1 Northwestern (2-0) at No. 11 Notre Dame (1-0) – Friday, 7 p.m. Eastern

Hook: You always expect the Irish to give the Wildcats a game, and then Northwestern steamrolls that notion right out of the turf. The ‘Cats have won seven straight in the series, and Notre Dame is unspectacular on defense and in the cage. The Irish’s best hope is for a shootout, and the prospect of one of those with Northwestern is probably no less daunting.

MD1: No. 19 Bucknell (0-1) at Ohio State (1-1) – Saturday, 12 p.m. Eastern

Hook: Ohio State’s rookie coach, Nick Myers, has some level of familiarity with Bucknell. His brother, Pat, was an assistant coach there before bolting to join Breschi at UNC. The Bison and Buckeye dug early holes against Duke and Navy, respectively, and ultimately fell short in closer-than-expected losses. Ohio State went with Brandon Freeman (over Syracuse transfer Peter Coluccini) in the cage against Navy, and he responded with 12 saves. But the Buckeyes will have their hands full against Bison studs Joe Mele (five goals against Duke) and Austin Winter (four assists), whose chemistry is unparalleled.


It’s way too early for a must-win game, but either Bucknell or Ohio State will have dug a pretty big hole to start the season after this game. Ohio State will have a definite home field advantage with the game being played indoors at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Indoor facilities are notoriously tough on visiting goalies, and Bucknell senior Nick Sciubba had an up-and-down 2008 season after leading the country in save percentage and goals against average in 2007. Sciubba made eight saves against 11 goals against in Bucknell’s season-opening loss to Duke.

 


MD3: No. 1 Salisbury (1-0) at No. 6 Lynchburg (0-0) – Saturday, 1 p.m. Eastern

Hook: Anyone else notice that Scranton held the early lead on Salisbury last week? As has become the standard, however, that only stirred the beast. Scranton’s 3-0 lead after six minutes evaporated quickly – as in a 16-0 run. Lynchburg horsemen Tyler Tolson and Michael Mundorf won’t let up as easily.

Believe it or not, Salisbury has not lost a regular season game since April 10, 2003. Yes, 2003. That’s a current streak of 78-straight wins, home and away, over six-plus seasons. It’s an NCAA record that grows with each victory. Why do we mention it here? Because the last team to beat the Gulls was Lynchburg, which gets another shot, at home, on Saturday. It’s tempting to pick the Hornets here for the sake of symmetry, but there’s 78 reasons that say otherwise.

 


So I saw that the Tewaaraton finalist were announced the other day and there were the perfunctory D-II and D-III candidates included. Do we really need to continue with this charade? No one will graduate this year with a better competitive resume than Kylor Berkman and he won't get a sniff.

 


MD1: Denver (0-1) at No. 17 Albany (0-0) – Saturday, 1 p.m. Eastern

Hook: Albany’s makes its debut at No. 17 in the USILA poll, but is it more of a nod to the past then a wink to the present? Perhaps not if you consider that Dan McKeon is primed to become a star in the cage, and that Mike Banks is in front of him to wreak havoc as a long pole. The Danes’ biggest question mark is on faceoffs. Scott Marr likes to push the tempo, but he might have to adjust up front.

MD1: No. 20 UMass (1-0) at No. 13 Hofstra (0-0) – Saturday, 1 p.m. Eastern

Hook: Upsets have become the norm in this hotly-contested series. Last year, undermanned UMass knocked off then-No. 17 Hofstra, 8-4. The previous year, unranked Hofstra dropped then-No. 10 UMass, 8-6. The Pride’s ranking this time, however, comes on the backs of a strong senior class that won’t be so easily upset. Look for good things from Pride sophomore Kevin Ford; injuries precluded him from getting any recognition last year. He could be poised for a breakout campaign.

MD1: No. 9 Georgetown (0-0) at No. 3 Maryland (2-0) – Saturday, 1 p.m. Eastern (ESPNU)

Hook: What happens when an immovable object meets an unstoppable force? That’s Georgetown and Maryland, respectively. The Hoyas, led by Barney Ehrmann, have strengthened their defense. The Terps, meanwhile, have imposed will thus far with their big attack. Notre Dame transfer Will Yeatman’s most impressive feats at Face-Off for a Cause in Jacksonville came on hustle plays for ground balls or rebounds in the corner, followed by pinpoint feeds to the crease. How will Dave Cottle dispatch him against Georgetown? Cottle has had Georgetown coach Dave Urick’s number. Maryland is an amazing 17-1 all-time in this series. The Hoyas’ lone win came in 2007 under the influence of an illegal stick penalty.

Also worth noting

* The Detroit Mercy women make their debut Saturday at Howard. That’s about as tough a game to call as any, which doesn’t say much for Howard. Jessie Morgan was a late hire, but she brings a name brand to the Bison – the only varsity program at a historically black college. Maybe the former U.S. Developmental team member will also bring a few Ws to the table.

* Whitter and Notre Dame de Namur have had a nice West Coast, Division III-versus-Division II rivalry. But at least part of this men’s lacrosse game Saturday is undermined by Nate Watkins abrupt resignation Feb. 10 from Whittier. The Poets have tabbed Brian Kelly, who’s familiar with this rivalry as a two-time All-American at Whitter (including as captain of its 2003 final four run), in the interim.

Watch on TV

Friday – Siena at No. 4 Johns Hopkins, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
Saturday – No. 9 Georgetown at No. 3 Maryland, 1 p.m. (ESPNU)
Saturday – Towson at No. 16 Loyola, 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU, tape delay)


Last Week 9-1
9-1
9-1
9-1
8-2
6-4
Overall 9-1
9-1
9-1 9-1
8-2
6-4
M: Colgate @ Duke
Duke
Duke
Duke
Duke
Duke
Duke
W: Syracuse @ Stanford
Syracuse
Syracuse
Syracuse
Syracuse
Stanford
Syracuse
M: Army @ Syracuse
Syracuse
Syracuse
Syracuse
Syracuse
Syracuse
Syracuse
M: Navy @UNC
UNC
Navy
UNC
UNC
UNC
UNC
W: Northwestern @ ND
Northwestern
Northwestern
Northwestern
Northwestern
Northwestern
Northwestern
M: Bucknell @ Ohio State
Ohio State
Ohio State
Ohio State
Bucknell
Bucknell
Ohio State
M: Salisbury @ Lynchburg
Salisbury
Salisbury
Salisbury
Salisbury
Salisbury
Salisbury
M: Denver @ Albany
Albany
Denver
Albany
Albany
Denver
Denver
M:  UMass @ Hofstra
Hofstra
UMass
Hofstra
Hofstra
Hofstra
Hofstra
M:Georgetown@Maryland
Maryland
Maryland
Maryland
Maryland
Maryland
Georgetown

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